The Consumer Goods Forum sets out renewed commitment to address climate change

In case anyone was wondering if major food businesses and retailers were waiving over tackling climate change then look no further than last week’s commitment by the Consumer Goods Forum to:

“act with determination, leadership and ambition to address challenges posed by climate change and to help advance progress against the goals and objective outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.”

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) brings together the CEOs and senior management of around 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries – including food sector members. CGF companies have combined sales of €3.5 trillion and directly employ around 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain.

Two of the food-related climate change actions the CGF is putting its weight behind is a commitment to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through sustainable sourcing of key commodities and working to achieve big reductions in food waste.

On food waste, the CGF committed in 2015 to halve food waste within its members own operations by 2025 and to additionally contribute to helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 which aims to reduce per capita food waste by 50 per cent by 2030. Currently, food waste is responsible for adding around 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere each year.

Perhaps as important, but often getting second billing to production-related changes, is the pledge by the Consumer Goods Forum to help change consumer consumption behaviours. The CGF want to enable and empower consumers through innovation, communication and partnerships to make sustainable changes through what consumers purchase and in their lives.

It will be interesting to follow how CGF members grapple with this problematic sustainable consumption behavioural change.